America can be part of the solution in Arabia

IN 2004, Democrats lost the US presidential elections, not because their agenda was not accepted, but because they did not have one, apart from their opposition to Bush.

By Munir Daair

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Published: Sun 4 Feb 2007, 8:20 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:08 AM

To win, the Republicans cleverly managed to move the campaign from their failures in Iraq, the economy and security. The elections were then fought over morality, school prayer, homosexuality and when life actually begins, all issues over which one can talk a lot and say very little.

In 2006, Democrats won the congressional elections not because they had an agenda but because Americans were fed up with the neoconservative fiascos of the Bush administration and wanted them to change course. Instead, the Republicans stayed the course. The American people threw them out and brought in a new crew. After all, when the political leaders don’t change, change the political leaders. Arabs should learn from that and when the opportunity arises do likewise. Nevertheless, the election results give Democrats a unique opportunity to now create an agenda that will regain for America its lost position and international credibility. They can create that agenda out of Arabia where the Bush administration’s policies failed miserably. America had credibility, long ago. It was after WW2 when it stood by Europe. With America’s help Europe got back on its feet, dynamic and vibrant.

Although some Europeans argue that America had self serving ulterior motives, the fact is that America played a key role in Europe’s revival. Ulterior motives become legitimate when the benefits are mutual. Tragically, the current American administration’s reckless policies have a lot of the former and none of the latter, indeed not even for America itself. Ulterior motives aside, Europe, despite or often because of its independent policies which occasionally irk America, has benefited the world, including America.

Should America repeat in Arabia its contribution to Europe, [ulterior motives welcomed] the benefits it will reap can be enormous, the costs negligible. But first America must agree to change its relationship with Arabia, from that of a dictatorial super power presiding over Arab sovereign decisions to the one it has built with Europe, which is based on equity and mutual respect.

By insisting on maintaining a dictatorial relationship with Arabs, controlling their governments which it has turned into proxies, America is loosing out in Arabia as inequity produces discontent which transforms itself into violent opposition and instability.

This is not the Arabia we aspire for our children. It is also hardly the Arabia whose resources can be guaranteed to the world.

This type of relationship has not served America well even in the short term. The cost of maintaining its dominating position, both in blood and treasure, has been enormous. Going forward, the cost will only rise and in the end America will find itself in a quagmire whose energy resources it cannot obtain, whose geopolitics it cannot control, whose people will judge America guilty of destroying their lives and livelihoods and will therefore continue to hunt America with an unforgiving vengeance.

But America can avoid that predicament by changing course. More so now, after the Americans decided to free the Congress and Senate from Neo-Conservative control.

The Democrats who now control both sides of the legislative branch have a unique opportunity to help America recover its position and mend us in the broken places.

They can do so by making America part of the solution.

They can genuinely support the Palestinians to attain their independent state that will guarantee both, Palestinian rights and Israel’s survival. It is inconceivable that Israel will obtain security without Palestinians finding equity. In Iraq, America can recognise the role of regional powers such as the GCC countries and Iran and work with them towards bringing peace to this war torn country. Pitting one side of the gulf against the other in an attempt to divide and rule will only guarantee continued regional strife that will ultimately extend to the entire region. The energy that brought America here in the first place cannot be guaranteed unless peace reigns.

Having forced the Syrians out, Lebanese must now be left alone to find their own solutions without foreign interference.

Supporting one party against another will cause that country to disintegrate in another civil war whose pain Lebanese still suffer.

There is enough wisdom and goodwill among Lebanese to avoid another war provided outsiders leave them alone. Beyond an honest contribution to solving these regional conflicts, America can genuinely advance the cause of democracy and the building of institutions of governance in Arabia.

It is only through equity, democracy and transparency that discontent can be managed, stability obtained and violent reprisals avoided.

Only a stable environment guarantees America and the world access to our energy and other resources.

Democrats must build stable relationships with us through long term policies which must replace current misconceived short term policies.

America and the world derive great benefits from America’s great contributions to Europe. America can repeat that in Arabia and be part of the solution.

Munir Daair is a widely published Yemeni political writer. He can be contacted at mdaair@gmail.com



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